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Victorian Society Honors Chateau-sur-Mer Restoration

he Victorian Society in America has honored the Preservation Society with a preservation award for its exterior restoration of Chateau-sur-Mer (1852).  The six-year project, completed last year, restored the house’s facades and roof.  It included masonry, slate-mansard and flat-seam copper roofing, skylights, metal cornice and decorated pressed metal ornamentation and window and veranda woodwork.  The Victorian Society cites the project as “an example of the highest standards of historic preservation.”

Chateau-sur-Mer Restoration Wins Rhody Award
The Preservation Society’s six-year project to restore the exterior of Chateau-sur-Mer (1852) was honored with a Rhody Award from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission and Preserve Rhode Island in October.   The $2.1 million project included restoration of the elaborate roof, including dormers, cornices and chimneys, exterior cleaning and repainting. It was the second award for the project, following an Excellence in Preservation Award from The Victorian Society in America.


Preserving Chateau-sur-Mer:  A Great Victorian House
During 2007, the Preservation Society continues the major restoration of Chateau-sur-Mer's (1852) roof, which protects the treasured woodwoork, wallpapers, stencils and furnishings inside.  The project, for which construction began in 2005, is about half complete, with valuable funding assistance from the Champlin Foundations, the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission, and the National Park Service Save America's Treasures program.

Chateau's mostly flat roof has been deteriorating for many years.  Water leaks have damaged the roof and have resulted in mold and staining on the walls and ceiling of the attic and several third floor rooms, which are not open to the public.  Pieces of the tin roof sheating and the rubber membrane added in the 1980s as a temporary fix are actually tearing off in pieces.

Work on the western and northern sections of the roof has been completed; the tin has been replaced with copper sheeting, and copper drain funnel troughs were installed to carry standing water to the outside downspouts.  The same techniques will be used for the eastern and southern portions of the roof.

All chimneys have been repointed and their caps replaced.  Structural reinforcements have been completed where needed.

Dormers on the western and northern sides have been cleaned and repainted, and the tin cornice trimming that is so distinctive was cleaned and repainted, using reproductions of original colors, as determined by scientific paint analysis.  The dormers on the eastern side still need scraping, cleaning and repainting; these dormers will also receive new Vermont slate roof coverings.  One of the last unrestored dormeers will be preserved and left unpainted, for future study by preservationists and students of architectural history. The tin cornice trim on these two sides also must be cleaned and repainted.  Finally, the granite exterior walls will be cleaned and repointed.